Mînowin mesmerizes with Indigenous dance in a multi-media setting

Mînowin is the latest interactive dance show from Dancers of Damelahamid. The Indigenous dance company is known for combining traditional West Coast dance with eye-popping staging, projections, and lighting.

Since premiering the piece in September as part of the National Arts Centre Indigenous Theatre’s inaugural year, the troupe has been touring Eastern Canada and Mexico. Now, they’re bringing it all back home for a run at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre Nov. 20-24. Find out more below.

Integrating narrative, movement, song, performance, and multimedia design, Mînowin is designed and choreographed with the intention of connecting to landscapes through Indigenous dance.

“Mînowin describes how we clarify direction,” choreographer Margaret Grenier states in a media release. “It’s about recovering and re-interpreting teachings that define and redefine who we are as Indigenous people; teachings that are accessed through story, dance, and song.”

One of the dances centres on orcas, a Gitxsan symbol going back thousands of years. In this section of the show, “five of the seven dancers swim through air onto a dark stage,” writes Megan Mooney in a review of a Minowin performance in Toronto in October.

“Four of them wear fins, while the fifth holds an orca puppet, each rigged with bright lights the blue of pristine coastal water. Their calming glow, coupled with the repetitive nature of the choreography—which builds on a single rhythm and a small number of steps—left room for nothing else in my attention. The wonder of it was a bedtime story brought to life.”

Mooney also writes that the show is “a mesmerizing session of song and dance about reconnecting with ancestral Indigenous knowledge, easing the struggles of Indigenous people, and exploring how progress is a continuous process of imbalance and renewal.”

Dancers of Damelahamid began in the 1960s to preserve First Nations songs, dances, and stories.

Banff Centre 2019, Dancers of Damelahamid Minowin, MGT, No usage before Oct 1, 2019

The Cultch run represents the West Coast premiere of the work.

Dancers of Damelahamid: Mînowin

When: Nov. 20-24

Where: Vancouver East Cultural Centre Historic Theatre, 1895 Venables St

Tickets: from $26 at 604-251-1363 and tickets.thecultch.com



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